My favorite psychiatrist (after Ben Goldacre of course)- Simon Wessely- just admitted that people with severe mental illness are dying much earlier than they should. However, he fails to see that it is perhaps the gradual poisoning of the vital organs, and damage to the nervous system and brain, from years on the psychiatric drug merry-go round, which is cutting the lives of psychiatric patients short. This (mis) treatment is literally killing psychiatric patients. Has Wessely not seen the state of someone after years on psychiatric medications? I was only on them for 4 years in my twenties and I was in bits afterwards, I literally hobbled like an old man at 25, had muscle spasms and I looked and felt like crap. It took me years to recover after the horrors of Seroxat but I am so thankful that I came of it when I did, I can only imagine how messed up I would be had I stayed on it and not gotten away from the psychiatric system. Sadly, I have met people who have been on these drugs for decades and I can say with all honesty that these people were utterly destroyed from psych meds. One friend of mine was prescribed Seroxat for 15 years, can you imagine that? He lost his hair, he became a virtual recluse, agoraphobic, he became infertile, lost his sex drive and had long term emotional blunting and anhedonia for years after, he will never ever be well again. Another former co-worker of mine was under psychiatic care for years, in and out of psych wards with various diagnoses and cocktails of drugs, she was prescribed the dreaded Zypexa. The last time I saw her I didn’t recognize her, such was the state that horrid drug left her in- she had tardive dyskenesia (basically her neurons were fried from it). Her weight had increased dramatically. Her tongue would dart in and out of her mouth like a lizard and she looked like death. She will never be well again. Long term psych drug users end up drooling messes and shells of their former selves, some of them end up brain damaged from the drugs (particularly the anti-psychotics). Robert Whitaker covered all this in his groundbreaking book , ‘an anatomy of an epidemic’, has Wessely not read this important book?
The mind boggles..
For more hilarious Wesselyisms see the full interview here:
We need shrinks in hospital emergency rooms
It’s time to abandon mind-body duality in medicine: we need psychiatrists in hospitals and better physical care for psychiatric patients, says Simon Wessely
Why do you think psychiatry needs to be better integrated with general medicine?
In the UK, psychiatrists tend to work out of separate mental health hospitals. If the goal were to split physical and mental health, the National Health Service could not be organised better. Yet most illnesses are not so easily divided. And the evidence that psychological treatments can have an impact on physical disorders is growing.
Could you give an example?
Take heart attacks. What could be more perfectly physical? But depression actually has a greater influence than smoking on your chances of surviving the following 12 months. Also, in cardiac clinics, many people come in with what looks like heart disease but turns out to be panic attacks.
So what needs to change?
We need liaison psychiatrists, which basically means you have an embassy of psychiatry in the middle of the acute general hospital. It deals with all the kinds of psychological and social problems associated with a busy hospital: depression in people with cancer, for instance, dementia in old people or problems in the accident and emergency department (A&E).
We’re putting better psychiatric services in at King’s, but we also want to get more physical care to those on the other side of the road, because we know that people with severe mental illness are dying much earlier than they should.
Are you optimistic this can happen?
Things are already changing. The number of liaison psychiatrists is increasing and junior doctors are getting more training in psychiatry. But we still need to do more to bring psychiatry into the heart of medicine, where it belongs.
This article appeared in print under the headline “Psychiatrists on standby”
Simon Wessely is a psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital in London and the new president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He has spent most of his career highlighting psychological influences on physical health